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Region K water planning. By Eugene McKee, Nick Mills, Tyler Richter, Blake Burch, Wyatt Smith , & Richard Nauert. The Basics. The counties of Region K include Mills, San Saba, Llano, Burnett, Blanco, Hays, Travis, Gillespie, Bastrop, Fayette, Colorado, Wharton, and Matagorda.
Eugene McKee, Nick Mills, Tyler Richter, Blake Burch, Wyatt Smith, & Richard Nauert
The table to the left shows information about water use as of 2000, and projected water needs for 2060
A visual for the previous slide shows that with increased water conservation and efficiency, demand for water doesn’t have to rise as fast as population.
- From Texas Water matters
As far as Texas goes, Region K is reasonably well to do water wise. Having immediate access to the Colorado River and Trinity, Edwards, Gulf Coast, & Carrizo-Wilcox Aquifers protects most residents of region K from experiencing first hand, the consequences of severe water shortage. That said, the average resident of region K has a more liberal mindset about water use compared with people in drier parts of the state. While cities in region K do have water conservation programs such as watering plans, and many people who realize the impending danger of water shortage, the overall mindset for most, is that for the immediate future there will be enough water for their long showers, car washes, and green lawns. It is hard for many region K residents to take water shortage too seriously because of the close proximity of the Colorado river and its seemingly vast reservoirs.
The lower Colorado River basin is home to a variety of economic activity, ranging from the high tech industry in the greater Austin area, to the agriculture on down the river. The largest use of water in the lower Colorado is the rice farming in south Texas, which is a major economic endeavor. The rice is a particularly thirsty crop because to grow rice, you must flood fields, so that the rice is actually growing in water. It is interesting that the largest single water user in region K is able to acquire its water at literally the price it takes to harness it, due to current water use policies regarding agriculture.
Besides agriculture, there are the previously mentioned high tech and computer industry, The business of generating hydroelectricity, and an industry centered around petrochemicals, and manufacturing of equipment for the petroleum business. The use of dams for generating hydroelectricity is the most obviously and directly dependant on water, however manufacturing also requires a fair amount.
Something else of economic relevance is the price of water in region K. From an economist standpoint, Cheap water bills leave more money in the pocket of the consumer, but they certainly don’t promote conservation.
Even if we can stretch water to meet our needs, there are still ecological concerns. If water demand increases and water levels go down it effects aquatic communities who’s species need a certain level of water to spawn and to thrive. Many of these species are important to us for food sources, water detoxification, or because of their status as a indicator species. An example would be the Barton Springs Salamander, who could become more threatened if levels of the Edwards aquifer become too low due to over withdrawal.